Spinning is one of the trendiest — and effective — ways for New Yorkers to keep fit in 2006.
Simulated cycling on stationary exercise bicycles, spinning offers all the benefits of outdoor biking without the flat tires.
Most good gyms offer spinning classes, where you can climb hills and descend valleys with the help of an instructor and some good dance tunes.
If you really enjoy spinning, why not go the extra mile and invest in your own exercise bike? You can set off on a cycle no matter the weather.
Benefits: Great for toning thighs and butts
Pitfalls: Classes can be tough going at first, especially if you’re out of shape.
Celebs who spin: Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank.
Gym memberships have never quite recovered since Hollywood stars such as Madonna and Jennifer Aniston shunned traditional workouts in favor of the “inside out” approach to fitness offered by meditative training such as Yoga, Pilates and Tae Bo.
“It certainly gives you a workout, you’re building strength, flexibility and toning,” according to Jenny Cirelli, who teaches yoga at St. Sebastian’s Parish Center in Woodside.
“Because it’s meditative, you’re also paying attention to what your body is doing,” she said.
Benefits: Once you’ve learned the techniques, you can practice at home — all you need is yoga matt.
Pitfalls: It takes time to develop the flexibility required to achieve the maximum results from balance training.
Celebs who balance: Pamela Anderson (Tae Bo), Madonna (yoga), Jennifer Aniston (pilates).
Yoga classes are available at St. Sebastian’s Parish Center (718) 204-1400 and Yonkers’ Aisling Center (914) 237-5121.
For maximum results in minimum time, circuit training is the way to go. The training involves short, intensive workouts focusing on specific body parts. It is one of the best ways to improve health and fitness and burn fat in one workout. Short and varied, circuit training is also perfect for people who want to tone up but find exercise boring. Curves (www.curvesinternational.com) offers circuit training for women.
Alternatively, ask your gym instructor to help you work out a personal circuit program, or devise your own workout at: www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/circuittraining or http://exercise.about.com/cs/exerciseworkouts
Benefits: Great all-over body workout.
Pitfalls: Circuit training is better for losing inches than pounds. If you have a lot of weight to lose, couple workouts with regular cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, walking or swimming.
Celebs who circuit train: Jennifer Lopez.
Perhaps it was Hilary Swank’s inspiring performance in “Million Dollar Baby,” or perhaps it was the shapely back she revealed in a Guy Laroche gown at last year’s Academy Awards ceremony, but the popularity of boxing and kickboxing as a form of fitness training is on the increase in the New York Irish community.
“It helps to keep your metabolism up, according to one instructor at the Combined Martial Arts Academy in Long Island City. “It’s a fast paced workout, so it burns fat quickly and improves your joints.”
Benefits: Improves cordination as well as fitness.
Pitfalls: You may suffer bruises and broken bones in the quest to obtain your ideal body.
Celebs who kickbox: Angelina Jolie.
The Combined Martial Arts academy offers kickboxing classes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (718) 389-9494.
New York may not be hosting the 2012 Olympic games, but that has done nothing to quell New Yorkers’ passion for athletics. Public jogging areas like Central Park and Shea stadium attract every level of athlete from high-speed runners to people walking their dogs.
The beauty of jogging, however, is that you can do it at any pace in any place. If you want to join up with fellow joggers, try joining a club like New York Road Runners (www.nyrr.org) or New York Flyers (www.nyflyers.org).
Benefits: One of the most effective ways to lose weight, increase strength and stamina.
Pitfalls: Jogging can wear down the knee and ankle joints.
Celebs who jog: David and Victoria Beckham.
Not only is cycling a great form of exercise, it’s also a fantastic way to check out Manhattan with a cycle path that covers most of the island. Groups such as the five boroughs cycling club organize regular group cycling trips, including a marathon cycle around the five boroughs every June.
Benefits: An intensive cardiovascular workout, not to mention a great way of working on your tan during the summer.
Pitfalls: Weather dependent.
Celebrities who cycle: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, President George W. Bush.
For more information about the Five Boroughs Cycling Club, go to www.5bbc.org
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They’re doing it as far away as Germany and Mongolia and with renowned dancers such as Niall O’Leary and Darragh Carr offering Irish dancing classes for adults around the City, why not give it a shot?
If the idea of straight backs and stiff arms is too much, Carr has pioneered ModEireann, which she describes as “a bled of traditional Irish step and modern dance.”
“Irish dancing is extremely aerobic,” according to Carr. “It’s an interesting way of keeping fit. You’re using your body and your mind.”
Benefits: Irish dancing classes are also a great way to meet people.
Pitfalls: The costumes…
Celebs who Irish Dance: Jean Butler, Kate Hudson, Lara Flynn-Boyle.
For more information about ModEireann, contact Darragh Carr (212) 627-3451.